Presenting Ourselves - Week of January 18th
By Judy NicholsJanuary 18, 2015
I have a dear friend, an early riser, who takes a walk every morning before sunrise, no matter the weather, to give thanks to God. That is her way of keeping GodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s presence at the forefront of her consciousness. She knows that giving thanks is a sacrifice that pleases God (see Psalm 50:23, Heb. 13:15). And in giving thanks daily, she is also reminding herself of all God has done for and in her. She is entering the realm of transforming grace that Paul spoke of in Romans 12:1-2. "Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God . . . Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." She prepares herself every morning to remember and be ready to act upon the truth as she goes about her day.
Paul also spoke much about presenting ourselves, either to God or to sin, in the sixth chapter of Romans. He looks at it from two different viewpoints. First, from a theological perspective, he tells us that we are not to present ourselves to sin because our sinful human nature was crucified along with Christ (6:6). We are dead to sin. We donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have to sin any more. We donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have to respond to temptation or offense out of our sinful nature. That is not to say sinÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s passions will be gone or even diminished, but we are to know by faith and act in faith that we donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have to succumb to them.
From a practical standpoint, Paul says we should not present ourselves to sin because doing so leads us back into that slavery from which Christ set us free. We become enslaved to whatever we obey, whether our flesh or God (6:16). He reminds us to think back to our lives before Christ and asks, "what fruit were you then receiving from the things of which you are now ashamed?" (6:21). Remembering the poverty and emptiness of our lives before we were saved never fails to produce gratitude for GodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s gift of grace. It reminds us of the depth of the SaviorÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s love, that He would take upon Himself all the sin, guilt, and shame that was rightfully ours.
When my children were small, I taught them that every choice they made would bend their "choosers" in one direction or the other. When they would choose disobedience, it would make it easier to choose it again and again. When they would choose obedience, the same would happen; it would be easier to obey the next time and the next. This, I believe, is the essence of presenting ourselves. If we choose to ignore God and live our lives under the authority of our sinful nature, we will progress down that path to its ultimate end Ã¢â‚¬â€œ death. If we choose to acknowledge God and present ourselves to Him, our minds will be transformed into His likeness and our members will be useful to Him as He demonstrates His character to the world through us, for His glory. We travel a path of sanctification, and the ultimate result, His free gift of eternal life, will be ours.